August 5: Juneau

We visited the same ports on our southbound journey as we did on our journey northward. However, the order was a bit different and we did different things.

Attaching the gangway in Juneau Juneau cable car to Mount Roberts. 6 minute cable car ride up Mount Roberts

Once the gangway was in place in Juneau, we headed off the ship. Near the dock was the terminal for the cable car ride that takes you up to the top of Mount Roberts in 6 minutes.

Flower beds near the dock. Juneau's City Hall Interesting artwork for sale in local shops

Juneau, the capital of Alaska, was a neat, clean city with numerous flower beds that were a riot of color during this short summer season. Many of the local shops featured interesting artwork by local artists.

An attractive planter Hard rock miners Plaque describing the sculpture.

Juneau is named after gold prospector Joe Juneau. Some gold was found by panning in Gold Creek but most of the gold had to be extracted by hard rock miners. Hard rock mining for gold in the low-grade ore deposits of the Juneau goldbelt was the economic life blood of Juneau from 1897 till 1944.

Gunakadeit Park Plaque describing Gunakadeit Park Colorfully painted house

According to the legends of the Tlingit tribe, Gunakadeit is a sea animal which brings good fortune and prosperity to the people who see it. This park celebrates the good fortune that has come to Juneau ever since the Tlingit people settled here hundreds of years ago. The bright colors of the local houses seem to reflect the up-beat nature of the community.

Former church is now a supermarket Fresh produce is very expensive Dairy products are also very expensive

This is a former church that has been converted into a local coop supermarket that sells mainly organic foods. As you can see from the photos, food is expensive because everything has to be shipped in from the lower 48 states by barge or air.

Greek orthodox church Catholic curch across the street Interesting house on Basin Road leading into the canyon

I hiked up the hill away from the ocean and came to a Russian Orthodox church and a Roman Catholic church. I kept climbing and headed out Basin Road that follows the canyon cut by Gold Creek. At the edge of town I came to this home of a rather exuberant gardener!

Parts of Basin Road are on wooden trestles. A car heading out Basin Road. A tributary of Gold Creek

Parts of Basin Road are built on wooden trestles. Unless you are driving and meeting very small cars, these are essentially one lane sections of the road. The Gold Creek watershed provides Juneau’s drinking water and so camping and dog walking is prohibited in this area.

Wickersham, home of James Wickersham, the first judge in this area. House of Wickersham Stairs down from Chicken Ridge

As I walked back into Juneau I turned down 7th Street and came to the House of Wickersham. This house was built on what is called Chicken Ridge overlooking Juneau in 1898. The house was purchased in 1928 by James Wickersham and his wife Grace. James Wickersham was a pioneer judge, the lone Territorial Delegate to Congress, and an influential lawyer in Juneau. I had a pleasant talk with the curator of this seldom visited State Park. When I left I started down a long set of steps that lead down from Chicken Ridge to Cope Park.

More steps down from Chicken Ridge The tennis courts in Cope Park The rushing waters of Gold Creek

It was a very long set of steps down from Chicken Ridge to Cope Park. However, I could then get a close up view of the rushing waters of Gold Creek. Snow Slide Gulch (the head of Gold Creek) was where Joe Juneau and Richard Harris found nuggets “as large as peas and beans.”

Vintage Ford Fairlane Ulus, blocks and bowls Harbor seal near the ship

As I walked back towards the ship I came across a vintage Ford Fairlane from the late 1950s. Many of the shops had the traditional curved knives and bowls characteristic of Alaska. As I approached the ship a harbor seal was swimming around. Late that afternoon we sailed south towards Skagway.